Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

I was recently at a playground with a toddler. Most of the kids were older. As he watched older boys going on the bigger swing with no safety bars, he he wanted to go on it too. I told him that those swings were for bigger kids and he was too little. He’s not quite 2 years old, is barely 3 feet tall and can’t speak in full sentences. But he earnestly looked at me and fervently said, “TRY TRY!” He wasn’t going to let those factors stop him from making the effort. He wanted to at least try. I put him on the swing, he held on tight and I pushed him gently, keeping one hand on him just in case.

Eventually he realized he couldn’t go high enough on the bigger swing so he asked to go to the one for toddlers. Then we went to the small slide. He went down it a few times before spotting the very high one. He ran over to it. I again told him it was for bigger boys and again he told me “TRY TRY!” Even though I told him he was too small for this very tall slide, he insisted on trying it. I stayed behind him as he slowly made his way up the steps. When he got to the top, he sat down and waited for me to get down and come around. Then he flipped onto his belly and down he went–over and over and over.

If you don’t try, how can you know if you can do something or if you’d even like it?

I admit I was in awe. This little boy showed me how not letting obstacles stop you can allow you to at least try what might seem hard or too big for you or not good for you. He tried the swing and decided it was more fun on the one that holds him in so he can go higher. He seemed to enjoy the “baby” swing more after trying the bigger swing and understanding that he couldn’t go very high on it. And he (and I) discovered he was capable of going down the big slide, as long as I stayed close.

Too often we decide something is too hard or won’t work before we try.

This little boy hasn’t learned to stand in his own way yet. He was very pleased with himself when he tried both. Yet adults tell me they can’t try something because it seems to hard or they’re scared. This little boy stood at the bottom of the big slide and said, “TRY!” I was the one who was scared. My first instinct was to stop him, thinking I was protecting him. Instead I took a deep breath and let him try. It helped him learn that he’s better off on the smaller swing and also that he’s capable of going down the high slide.
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Taking risks builds confidence and helps you succeed in life. Not trying can keep you stuck.

If you don’t try to ask for a promotion, you probably won’t get one and won’t know if you could handle it had you got it. If you don’t approach the person you have a crush on, you’ll never find out if the person might have been just as nervous as you and would have gone out with you. If you don’t take that first step to getting what you say you want, you’ll never take the second step. TRY! Take the first step and see how it feels. Then decide if you can keep going based on the actual experience instead of the fear of what if? You’ll get a lot more and find more satisfaction in doing this. If a 2-year old can try, you can too!

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